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Poetry Comparison - 'Telephone Conversation' by Wole Soyinka and 'Ballad of the Landlord' by Langston Hughes.

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Poetry Comparison The two poems 'Telephone Conversation' by Wole Soyinka and 'Ballad of the Landlord' by Langston Hughes both focus on the issue of racism. Thus the poems have a similar theme but present the theme in a variety of different ways. The backgrounds of the poets tell us a lot about their intentions. Soyinka is a Nigerian who was raised as a Christian. He is also highly educated and went to two universities, one a Nigerian university the other an English university. His background shows he mingled into western society but he was never treated as an equal. Soyinka wrote political literature and was arrested for seizing radio stations and making a political broadcast about the fairness of the Nigerian elections. He was politically oppressed and his whole life has been a struggle. He often voiced his opinions on the Nigerian government and the racism he has experienced. His intentions are quite clearly shown in 'Telephone Conversation' where he illustrates a typical example of racism, possibly autobiographical, through the absurd reaction of the landlady. If he had gone to see the flat, the landlady would have lied and told him it was already taken so it would have been directly racist. ...read more.


The use of these words gives the poem more depth and individuality, which can fit nicely into the tempo of the poem. Both poets use many different poetic devices and their own style of writing in their poems. Soyinka uses enjambments often: "Silenced transmission of Pressurized good-breathing" This makes the poem flow and adds depth to the description by lengthening the line. Which is the same reason, Hughes uses enjambments in his poem: "When you come up yourself It's a wonder you don't fall down." But Hughes uses a forced structure of enjambment of appearing on the second line of every stanza, which makes the poem more rhythmic and jazzy. Hughes use a jazzy, musical style in his poem thus it is called 'Ballad of the Landlord'. By using structure enjambments and a rhyming pattern in the second and fourth lines of each stanza: "Landlord, landlord, My roof has sprung a leak. Don't you 'member I told you about it Way last week? He makes the poem flow like music and gives it a beat and tempo. Hughes makes good use of the musical style by creating tension in the fist six stanzas like many musical pieces and then like music; the poem speeds up giving a dramatic effect "Copper's whistle! ...read more.


Both poems show you racism and its effects on people and Hughes and Soyinka aren't just writing about their personal experiences but also showing you that these things happened to many black people. The two poets write their poems in different ways, using different techniques, which give the poems their originality and identity. Soyinka uses humour to illustrate the ignorance of the landlady and shows how stupid she is when she does not pick up on the sarcasm until the end: ' "Foolishly, madam - by sitting down, has turned My bottom raven black...." ' This humour makes the poem more interesting and indulging. Hughes uses the element of music to make his poem fast, upbeat and enjoyable to read. The musical beat compliments the stanzas in which the character is facing a hard ordeal with his landlord. The hardship shown by the poets made me think how unjust and prejudice our forefathers were to blacks from slavery to not letting them get adequate housing in the western world. Hughes summed it up with the way the police treated his character with such efficiency and how harsh the jail sentence is for being a little assertive. The two poets illustrate the everyday hardships which black people faced and still do is some parts of the world and that may make us a bit more assertive with our actions and their effects on people. ...read more.

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